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Beatrice Quijada Cornish 

The ancestry of Juan de Oiiate,^ on his father^s side, may be 
traced to the Basque provinces.^ The importance of these prov- 
inces in the evolution of Spain and her possessions is historically 
established. In religion alone, through Ignatius de Loyola of 
Guipuzcoa and Francis Xavier of Navarre, they have left their 
mark upon Europe. 

Cristobal de Oiiate, father of Don Juan, was born in Vitoria,* 
the capital of Alava.^ He was the son of Cristobal Perez de 
Narriahondo and Ossanza Martinez de San Vicente, his wife. He 
was also a nephew of Pedro de Baeza and Maria de Yrarrazaval, 
his wife, of the ancient and illustrious house of Narriahondo, 

1 This paper was written in the Bancroft Library at the University of California. 

* Originally Oinati or Oniati, Soraluce, Historia General de Guipuzcoa, I, 256. 
8 Provincias Vascongadas, a division of northeastern Spain, comprising the 

provinces of Alava, Biscaya or Viscaya, Guipuzcoa and Navarre. Their isolation, 
the mountainous and easily defended nature of the country, their comparative 
poverty and the possession of a seaboard, all tended to the development of rugged 
characteristics essential to a people who were destined to carry on warfare and 
adventure for centuries in the liberation of their mother country from the Moors, 
and in the conquest and settlement of her distant colonies. 

* Mendieta, Historia Eclesidstica Indiana, 402 ; Berndrdez, Descripcidn Breve 
de la muy noble, y leal ciudad de Zacatecas, 31, according to Haro's iVobt'Zano. B6- 
thencourt, Historia Genealogica Heraldica de la Monarquia Espafiola Casa Real y 
Grandes de Espana, 1, Introduction, 8-9, says regarding Lopez de Haro, author 
of the Nobilario: "A Alonso Lopez de Haro, Criado de Su Magestad, cronista 
que fu6 de Felipe IV, debemos el Nobilario Geneal6gico de los Reyes y 
TItulos creados en Castilla desde que tuvieron el caracter de transmisibles y here- 
ditarios, 6 lo que es lo mismo, desde los tiempos de Don Enrique II, el de las Mer- 
cedes, hasta los de Felipe IV, d la sazon reinante." Berndrdez, p. 34, in quoting 
Haro, does so verbatim. A copy of Haro's work was furnished to him by Doctor 
Don Juan Ignacio Maria Castorena y Urstia. A Clvica Corona compiled by Cas- 
torena y Ursiia from his researches in archives, from his detailed study of crdnican 
and surveys of Nobilarios, is mentioned by Berndrdez, but it is not available to the 
writer. For information on Castorena, y Urstia, see his Las Indiaa Entendidaa, 
Sermon 10/1 and El Predicador (Jonvertido, Sermon 8/4. 

6 For the origin of the name Xlava, s6e Madoz, the Diccionario Geogrdfico-Eatadls- 
tico-Hiatdrico de Espafia y sua posesiones de Ultramar; Salazar, Mexico en 1554, P- 56. 
For the history of the province of Alava, see Pirala, Espafia, sua monumentoa y 
artea, su naturaleza e historia, pp. 48-185. For the history of Villa de Ofiate, see 
Pirala, pp. 330-384. 



within the jurisdiction of the important Villa de Oiiate, in the 
province of Alava. There is evidence that this Villa was in exis- 
tence in 1 149.^ It is situated in the centre of the Basque provinces. 
Pedro de Baeza was a descendant of Lopez Diaz de Haro, " Seiior 
de Viscaya/' chief and captain-general of the Andalusian frontier, 
bishopric of Jaen, who conquered the city of Baeza from the 
Moors in 1227. This achievement caused him to order that all 
of his descendants adopt the surname of Baeza, so as to per- 
petuate this victory over the Moors. ^ In the early seventeenth 
century there were many families of this name both in Baeza and 

The ancestry of Juan de Onate on his mother's side may 
be traced to Granada.'^ Dona Cathalina de Salazar, his 

1 Pirala, p. 179. 

' Bern&rdez, p. 32, according to Haro's Nobilario. 

» Arlegui, Chrdnica de la Provincia de N. S. P. S. Francisco de Zacatecas, 1st ed., 
pp. 56-57. 

* Carranza, Sumaria Relacidn de las Cosas de la Nueva Espafla, 289. The 
work of Baltasar Dorantes de Carranza, to which frequent reference will be made, 
appears to have been little used heretofore. Because of its importance, the writer 
feels warranted in adding a statement bearing on the interesting history of both 
the author and his manuscript. This manuscript, probably his autobiography, 
according to Obreg6n, writer of the prologue of the publication, was published in 
1902 by the Museo Nacional de Mexico. Prior to this time it had been in the pos- 
session of Sr. Lie. D. Jos6 Fernando Ramirez. Upon the death of this distinguished 
"bibli6filo" it was obtained along with other manuscripts and the majority of the 
books in his valuable Ubrary, by Sr. Lie. D. Alfredo Chavero. Upon one occasion, 
having shown this manuscript to Sr. D. Joaquin Garcia Icazbalceta, he was so 
delighted with the work, that it was given to him as a present by its owner. While 
in possession of Icazbalceta, Sr. D. Jos6 Maria de Agreda y Sdnchez had occasion 
to see the manuscript, and he in turn was so, pleased with its contents that he de- 
cided to make a palcographJcal translation. Agreda then requested Luis Gonzdlez 
Obreg6n to check the copy with the original, and he became so interested in its con- 
tents that he suggested to him that the nnanuscript be published as soon as possible. 
Unable to do so at that time, he did so later. His idea was greatly encouraged by 
Sr. Dr. D. Manuel Urbina, who communicated with Sr. D. Francisco del Paso y 
Troncoso, already familiar with the manuscript. The document was published 
in its entirety for the first time in 1902; a few pages are incorporated in Garcia 
Icazbalceta's Memorias de la Academia Mexicana. As the first fourteen pages of 
the original manuscript were missing, and therefore a title was lacking, Ramirez 
gave the book the name of Sumaria Relacidn de las Cosas de Nueva Espana, con 
noticia individual de los descendientes legitimos de las conquistadores y primeros pobla- 
dores espafioles. Carranza was the son of Andr6s Dorantes de Carranza, one of the 
companions of Cabeza de Vaca. Andres Dorantes was a native of Bejar del Cas- 
tanar in old Castile, and a descendant of noble families, of ancient lineage, possessing 
many '' mayorazgos de calidad." Baltasar was born in Mexico about the middle 
of the sixteenth century, and inherited an encomienda which brought him five 
thousand pesos de renta, of which he was despoiled, being left, as he good naturedly 
remarks, "desnudo y en cueros como cuando sali6 mi padre de la Florida." He 
wrote in Mexico in 1604, as he himself states in several places in his work. On 
one occasion he says: "Not more than eighty-four years have elapsed since this 
land was conquered, which is in 1604, and therefore the persons living are known, 
and the memory of those deceased is still alive." Beyond the data furnished by 
himself, little is known of him, but he enters into an interesting account of the life, 
ancestry, and descendants of his father, Andres Dorantes de Carranza. Baltasar 


mother/ was the daughter of Gonzalo de Salazar, "el gordo," and 
Dona Cathalina de la Cadena.^ She had previously been married 
to Ruy Diaz de Mendoza, who upon his death left her a widow in 
Spain. She then came from Spain to Mexico and married Cris- 
tobal de Ofiate, Don Juan's father, who was at that time a vecino 
of the city of Mexico.^ Dona Cathalina de la Cadena was the 
daughter'* of Alonso Davila,^ " el de Malacatepec,"^ conquistador 
and vecino of the city of MexicoJ Antonio de la Cadena came 
from Spain to Texcuco * with Geronimo Ruiz de la Mota, also a 

Don Cristobal de Onate came from Spain in the autumn of 
1524/° with the contador, Rodrigo de Albornoz ^^ and Gonzalo de 

was tesorero for the king in the port of Vera Cruz, and occupied other positions 
of merit in New Spain. Later he was named procurador general to the king of 
Spain. He mentions another book which he wrote, and which he calls "el libra 
principal." He says: "se tocard universalmente lo que conviene decir en este 
prop6sito en el libro principal, porque no es deste lugar, que harfa historia de in- 
mensidad" (Carranza, p. 63). According to Obreg6n, this book has never been 

1 The discussion relative to Juan de Onate's mother, namely : whether Dona 
Isabel Cortes Montezuma was his mother or his wife, has been brought about 
because the only source on which authorities have based their deductions was 
Haro's Nobilario, and this work has been differently quoted. Arlegui, 1st ed., 
p. 31, erroneously calls Dona Isabel Cortes Montezuma the wife of Don Crist6bal. 
The San Luis PotosI Relacion Circuns. confirms this statement by calling Don Juan 
"hijode Dona Isabel," according to Bancroft, Hist. Arizona and New Mexico, p. 
116 ; Villagr^, Historia de la Nueva Mexico, Canto Sexto ; Berndrdez, p. 31 ; Arlegui, 
Ist ed., p. 34 ; Luis Tribaldo de Toledo, Intro., Villagrd, and likewise Carranza, 
Don Juan was the husband of Dona Isabel. 

2 Carranza, p. 290. 

* Ibid., pp. 282, 290. 

' Ibid., p. 163. Alonso Ddvila had a son, Ger6nimo Ddvila ; grandsons, Hernando 
de Salazar, Joan Alonso Ddvila, Francisco Davila, Diego de Cayas ; great grand- 
sons, Alonso Ddvila Magarifio, Joan Magarino. i 

* For information regarding Malacatepec, see Alcedo. ' 
'' Carranza, p. 195. 

8 Tezcuco, a jurisdiction and alcaldia mayor of New Spain. It was here that 
king Nzahualcoyotl maintained his sovereignty, and after the establishment of the 
Mexican empire it was the court of the princes of the race of Montezuma. It is 
15 miles e. n. e. of Mexico at the foot of the sierra, which is the e. wall of the valley 
of Tenoxtitlan, in lat. 19° 31' 30" and long. 98° 52' w. 

* Ger6nimo Ruiz de la Mota, "capitan de un vergantin de los vallesteros." He 
left many sons and daughters, the oldest being Antonio de la Mota. Alonso de 
la Mota and Pedro de la Mota are his brothers. Memorial (anonymous) de los 
conquistador es de esta Nueva Espana que se hallaron en la toma de Mexico y fueron 
despues a ganar y conquistar con el Marques del Valle las provincias de Tutupeque y 
la provincia de Guatemala, Honduras e Higueras que fue toda la Nueva Espafia. 
Incorporated in Appendix of Carranza's work as published by the Museo Nacional 
de Mexico, p. 443 et seq. Carranza, p. 195. 

1° Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, vol. 2, p. 144, states : "Salazar arrived in the autumn, 
ace. to Cortes Cartas." Carranza, p. 315, states: "Vino d esta Nueva Spafia 
quando el contador Rodrigo de Albornoz." 

" Carranza, pp. 290, 315. Rodrigo de Alborn6z had been secretary to the king 
prior to his appointment as revenue official. His appointment is dated Balladolid, 


Salazar, the latter as factor. The strongest characteristic of 
Gonzalo de Salazar, grandfather of Don Juan, as gleaned from 
the pages of authorities who have treated of his career in Mexico, 
is one of subtle duplicity. Arriving in Mexico with the- expecta- 
tion of acquiring great and sudden wealth, he lost no time in 
fawning upon Cortes in the hope that he might be allowed to 
share in the plunder of the colonial revenue. Failing in this en- 
deavor, because Cortes neither possessed the treasures, nor was 
willing to share his receipts with others, he with other revenue 
oflBcials instituted a systematic attack upon the captain-general, 
libelling his character and his acts to the king of Spain. Cortes 
seems to have proved pliable to their purposes, because upon 
leaving on his expedition into Honduras, Salazar and Chirinos 
were left in charge at Mexico. This so facilitated their plan of 
intrigue that prior to 1526 they were in entire control of the gov- 
ernment. During the long absence of Cortes in Honduras, false 
reports of his death were eagerly circulated by Salazar and his 
associates, thereby urging the commissioners to greater activity, 
and resulting in a usurpation of power. The estates of Cortes, 
the offices, lands, and Indians of his followers, were seized and 
appropriated by Salazar. Salazar was soon overthrown by a 
portion of the followers of Cortes who had been inspired with 
courage upon learning that Cortes lived. He was released on 
the plea of Albornoz while at the court of Spain. He went 
to Spain prior to 1542, and joining Soto in the expedition to 
Florida, narrowly escaped hanging for disobedience to his chief. 
He died in obscurity. When Salazar went to Spain he left 
his son Hernando de Salazar, uncle of Juan de Oiiate, as fac- 
tor, Hernando de Salazar left an indebtedness to the king of 
three hundred thousand yesos, and upon his death Juan Velaz- 
quez, his younger brother, bound himself to liquidate this debt. 
Assuming the office of factory he served the king many years, 
in the haciendas of his father as well as in the encomiendas 
and pueblos of Taximora, in the province of Michoacan and in 

October 25, 1522, and reads: "cuidando hacer cargo al oficial real tercero de los 
tributos, servicios, composiciones que los indios y naturales de la trerra debian 
pagar, como de todo lo demas perteneciente en cualquier manera al real erario, 
segun es de ver en el torao I de los cedularios que existen en el real tribunal de la 
contaduria mayor de cuentas." Fonseca, Historia General de la Real Hacienda, 
vol. 1, p. 413. 


the province of Tepetlaeztoc, seven leagues from the city of 

Juan Velazquez de Salazar, son of Gonzalo, was a native of 
Granada.^ He married Doiia Ana de Esquivel, daughter of the 
tesorero, Alonso de Merida.^ By 1604, the greater number of his 
children and their descendants were deceased, but his daughter 
Dona Francisca de la Cadena y Salazar, married Caspar de 
Rivadeneira, and they had children. In 1604 were also living 
three unmarried daughters of Juan Velazquez, who were cousins 
of Juan de Oiiate.^ Juan Velazquez was not a conquistador but 
an encomendero appointed by Cortes, as was also Don Cristobal, 
his brother-in-law.^ 

Although, as stated, Juan de Ofiate's father, Don Cristobal, 
arrived in Mexico in 1524, the first record of actual service is as 
captain in the confidence of Nuno de Guzman, and the recipient 
of generous gifts of pueblos, which of right belonged to Cortes 
and others.® This was in 1528-29, during the period of the 
first Audiencia. In his relations with Guzman, his self-respect 
and conservatism are a striking contrast to the "unprincipled 
ambition of the self-sufficient autocrat." Don Cristobal was one 
of the conquerors of New Galicia.^ He proved himself equal to 
the difficulties and responsibilities of the situation he encountered. 

1 Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, vol. 2, pp. 143-145, 193-237. Salazar y Olarte, 
p, 284, says : "Gonzalo de Salazar deseoso de ser unico en el dominio de la Nueva 
Espafia." Also, ibid., pp. 282-283 : "No se ignora la confianza de nuestro celebre 
capit^n d favor de Pedro Almindez Chirinos y de Gonzalo de Salazar ; pues vencido 
de la persuasion, 6 pagad6 de la lisonja (ruido agradable de la fantasia, y flecha, 
que destruye el mundo de la razon), quiso conferirles el govierno de la Nueva 
Espafia." Data bearing on the indebtedness left by Hernando de Salazar has been 
taken from Carranza, p. 290. 

« Carranza, pp. 289-290. 

» Ibid., p. 269 : "Alonso de M6rida, thesorero que fu6 de la Casa de la Moneda 
y Senor de la Provincia de Metztitlan. Qued6 en esta casa y sucesion Francisco 
de Quintana Duenas, y en la encomienda por casamiento con Dona Mariana de 
M6rida, nieta del dicho thesorero por varon." 

* Ibid., p. 290. 

* " Memorial de los que no son conquistadores y tienen Yndios encomendados de 
el Marques de el Valle." Incorporated in Carranza, p. 456. Cort6s gave freely to 
recently arrived friends who had taken no part in the conquest. Cortes, Residencia, 
pp. 48, 81-82, 259-262. 

•Nuno de Guzmdn was a native of Guadalajara in Castile, and a "caballero 
notorio." It is not known whether he left any descendants, and Carranza only 
knew Diego de Guzmdn, a nephew of Nufio, in Mexico. Carranza, p. 306. 

' For most of the events of this rebellion and the work of Onate therein, we 
are indebted to the three early chroniclers: Tello, Hist. N. Gal., 362-438; 
Mota Padilla, Conquista de Nueva Galicia, 111-154; Beaumont, Cron. Mich., 
IV, 59-66 ; 386-421 ; Ms. 300-303 ; 422-425 ; 550-580. Herrera also speaks of these 


and the characteristics of the Basque people stood him in good 
stead. His obstinate conservatism dming the Mix ton War, com- 
bined with intelKgence and executive ability, make Don Cristobal 
a type figure. Throughout his strenuous career in the new world, 
and more particularly during this rebellion, his courage, combined 
with other qualities characterized as inherent in the "Seiiores de 
Viscaya," ^ are apparent. . :_> 

While Don Cristobal was in Galicia, his family was in the pueblo 
of Tacambaro in the province of Michoacan, of which he was en- 
coTnendero? He was also encomendero of Culhuacan, two leagues 
from the city of Mexico.^ His brother, Juan de Oiiate, took a 
very active part in the conquest of New Galicia, and about 1531 
was sent to establish Espiritu Santo, called later Guadalajara in 
honor of Guzman's birthplace.'^ The movements of Don Juan 
prior to this time are not clear. He was a staunch partisan of 
Guzman, and after the fall of the latter his brother Don Cristobal 
advised him to escape. He fled to Peru, where, as some say, he 
died poor and blind. ^ 

The relations of Guzman's successor, Diego Perez de la Torre,^ 
and Don Cristobal were most friendly, and upon the death of the 
former in the revolt of 1538, he formally appointed Cristobal 
de Onate his successor as governor, and entrusted to his protec- 
tion his two marriageable daughters. Onate proved faithful to 
the trust.^ 

In the year 1548 we find Cristobal de Onate in Zacatecas, with 
his friends Diego de Ibarra, Baltasar Treviiio de Baiiuelos, and 
Juan de Tolosa, all Spanish officers of rank, in search of mines. ^ 

events. Original documents on the subject are few, according to Bancroft, Hist. 
Mexico, vol. 2, p. 511. 

1 Arlegui, p. 58 ; Villagrd, Canto Tercero. 

' Mota Padilla, Conquista de Nueva Galicia, 193. 

' Carranza, p. 315. By royal cMula issued February 1534, New Spain was 
divided into four provinces, designated as Mexico, Michoacan, Goazacoalco, and 
Miztecapan. The limits of each were properly defined. Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, 
vol. 2, p. 391, according to Puga, Cedulario, pp. 90-91. 

* Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, vol. 2, p. 366. 
» Ibid., p. 462. 

* Appointed governor of Nueva Galicia by cSdula, March 17, 1536. Mota 
Padilla, pp. 104-109. 

^ One of the daughters married Jacinto de Pineda y Ledesma, a person of good 
birth, and the other married the alferez mayor, Fernando Flores, from whom Mota 
Padilla claims to be descended. Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, vol. 2, p. 464. 

* Berndrdez, p. 26. For portraits of these four men, see Bern&rdez. Tolosa was 
known as "el rico" and nicknamed "barba longa." 


They were extremely successful in their ventures, becoming the 
wealthiest men in America at that time.^ Don Cristobal came to 
Zacatecas accompanied by his family, and all others who might 
desire to accompany him.^ The deeds of this illustrious sire are 
praised by all of his chroniclers, and the generosity which he dis- 
played in Zacatecas is held to be equal to the munificence of the 
wealthiest prindpes del universo.^ One of his chroniclers calls 
him " son of the most noble and ever loyal province of Alava, whose 
sons ever noble and generous, have always proved themselves 
magnanimous and renowned."^ His Christian and fervent piety 
is attested to on various occasions. While in Zacatecas he had a 
bell with which he daily summoned to his table all who might 
desire to eat, a practice which he continued throughout his life.^ 
That he was an excellent specimen of the old time sire, consider- 
ate, kind, and courteous, cannot be disputed. The Reverend Padre 
Fray Diego de Vasalanque of the order of St. Augustine, states 
that in order to recount the praises due to Onate because of his 
generosity, an "historia particular'' would be required, that his 
nobility, his courage, and his liberality kept pace with his Chris- 
tian spirit ; that he endeavored to care for the Indians as if they 
were his own, and neither he nor his son Don Fernando collected 
the tribute ^ from the Indians for many years, but permitted them 
to receive the benefit thereof, so as to help them in the construction 
of the missions.^ Mota Padilla takes occasion to remark that Don 
Cristobal could not have been like the other conquistadores} The 
date of his death has not been determined, but we know that 
both he and his wife were deceased at the time Carranza wrote, 
which was in 1604. How many years prior to that date we do 
not know.^ 

Juan de Onate, son of Cristobal and Dona Cathalina de Salazar, 
was born in Mexico,^^ although we do not know the date or his 

1 Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, vol. 2, p. 554. 

' Frejes, Historia Breve, p. 124 ; Berndrdez, p. 26. For the founding of Zaca- 
tecas, see Berndrdez, pp. 1-90; Mota Padilla, p. 191. 

• Arlegui, pp. 58-59. 

• Ibid., pp. 58-59. 

6 Ibid., p. 58 ; Berndrdez, p. 26. 

• For history of Tributos y Reales Servicios, see Fonseca, VI. 
, ' Mota Padilla, p. 103. 

8 Ibid., p. 103. 

' Carranza, p. 315. 

" Mercurio Volante, p. 2 ; Villagrd, prologo, fol. vi. 


native town.^ We know little of his youth, although we may infer 
that in a stimulating environment he had every advantage that 
good birth and opportunities could bestow. He entered the ser- 
vice of the king early in life and continued therein throughout his 
career, being still active in 1620.^ His general services cover 
"bloody encounters with the Chichimecs, the discovery of the 
rich mines of Zichu,^ Charcas, and San Luis Potosi, which he 
peopled with Spaniards, as well as being the settler of New Mexico, 
where he brought many natives to the obedience of the king, v 
thereby immortalizing himself in the history of both hemispheres."^ 
He has been compared in daring to Cortes and in adventure to 

Juan de Onate married Doiia Isabel Tolosa Cortes Montezuma, 
great granddaughter of Montezuma, granddaughter of Cortes, 
daughter of Juan de Tolosa and Leonor Cortes de Montezuma.® 

t^ * Davis, Spanish Conquest of New Mexico, p. 263, says: "Don Juan de Ofiate, 
native of Zacatecas," but no reference is given as to source of information. 

' Bern^rdez, p. 32, according to Haro's Nobilario: "Don Juan de Onate, re- 
spondiendo & su valor y virtud militar despues de aver fervido a la corona de Iob 
Reyes sus Sefiores fus primeros anos hafta el presente de 1620, con honor." 

» Carranza, p. 129. 

* Berndrdez, p. 32. 

' Tribaldo de Toledo, Villagrd, Cancidn Pindarica. 

•Villagrd, Canto Sexto; Berndrdez, p. 31; Luis Tribaldo de Toledo, Soneto, 
Intro., Villagrd; Arlegui, 1st ed., p. 34. Cort6s was first married in Cuba to 
Catalina Sudrez, a native of Granada, in Andalusia. Her death occurred in 1522. 
It is supposed that by her he had a child, but nothing definite can be ascertained 
on this point. A natural daughter by a Cuban Indian is also mentioned at that 
time. His second marriage was with Dona Juana de Zdfiiga. Bancroft, Hist. 
Mexico, vol. 2, p. 483. From the second marriage he had a son Don Martin Cort6s, 
"que 8ucedi6 en su casa y estado y vino & tener ciento y sesenta mill pesos en renta, 
y en discurso de 34 afios creo que han quedado en quarenta mill y se va consumiendo 
de manera que d poco rato 6 tiempo se imagina una gran ruina y acabamiento, 
porque los indios se acaban & prisa." Carranza, p. 99. Don Martin was married 
to Dofia Ana Ramirez de Arellano, daughter of the Conde de Aguilar. They had 
a child, Don Fernado Cort6s, third Marquis, who married Dofia Theresa de la 
Cerda, sister of the Conde Chinch6n. Don Martin also had another son, Don 
Ger6nimo Cort6s, "del hdbito de Santiago," who had died before Carranza wrote, 
i.e. 1604. Also Don Pedro Pizarro Cortes, "del habito de Calatrava 6 Alcdntara." 
In 1604 he still lived and had inherited the estate of his brother, Don Fernado. 
Carranza, pp. 99-100. Don Martin also had a daughter Dona Catalina Pizarro, 
who married the Conde de Pliego. According to Bancroft these last two children 
were illegitimate. Don Martin married a second time, but Carranza says there 
was no issue. Cortes, the original Marqu6s del Valle, also had through the Zuniga 
marriage three daughters. Dona Catalina, who died single ; Dofia Juana Cort6s, 
who married the Duque de Alcald, Marqu6s de Tarifa ; Dona Maria Cort6s, who 
married the Conde de Luna, in the city of Le6n. Cortes also had several illegiti- 
mate children. Don Martin Cort6s was the son of la Malinche, an Indian woman. 
He belonged to the "hdbito de Santiago." This illegitimate son left an illegitimate 
son, Don Fernando Cort6s, of whom Carranza says : "Trae una cruz d, los pechos, 
y no de la muestra y calidad que su padre y tios y primos. Hubole en Castilla en 
una sefiora, en la ciudad de Logrono, que sin ofensa de su calidad pudiera casarse 
con ella, y aun con este concept© se fi6 ella de el. Htibole pasando d la guerra de 


They had two children, Cristobal de Onate and Maria de Oiiate. 
Dona Maria married the Maestre de Campo, Vicente de Zaldivar.^ 
In 1620, at the time of the publication of Haro's Nobilario, the 
son was not married and was active in the service of the king. At 
that time he had already shown great courage, and had held the 
position of lieutenant-governor and captain-general in the province 
of New Mexico, where he had served Philip II and Philip III, 
demonstrating the soldierly qualities and the nobility of his ante- 

Where and when the lad was born, or where he obtained his 
" early " education, we do not know. That his father took pleasure 
in developing in his young son the martial spirit so predominant 

Granada, por capitan, donde murio." Martfn Cort6s, son of Malinche, also had 
a daughter Dona Ana Cortes de Porres, through his marriage with Dona Bernardina 
de Porres, "senora de gran calidad, seso y discrecion." Dona Ana Cortes de 
Porres was married to a "caballero muy igual a su merecimiento " whose name is 
not given by Carranza. They had a son, Don Juan Cortes, who in 1604 had re- 
cently arrived in the fleet which brought the viceroy Marques de Montesclaros, to 
whom Carranza dedicated his work. He states that in his intercourse with Don 
Juan, he has always found him honorable and worthy on account of his virtues, 
being the son and grandson and great-grandson of worthy persons. His exact 
language is interesting : "de lo poco que he tratado d este caballero, y de la buena 
fama que tiene, le conozco por muy cuerdo y honrado y que es digno, por sus vir- 
tudes, de ser hijo y nieto de quien es, y bisnieto del gran Cortes." Carranza, pp. 100- 
101. Again, Cortes, the original Marques del Valle, had a daughter Dona Leonor 
Cortes, who married Juan de Tolosa in Zacatecas. IDona Leonor was the daughter 
of Dona Isabel, oldest daughter of Montezuma. Dona Leonor had two daughters, 
one of whom married Don Juan de Oiiate, the other married Cristobal de Zaldlvar. 
Dona Leonor also had other daughters whose names are not given, but who in 1604, 
were nuns in Seville. Carranza, pp. 100-101. Cortes also had another illegitimate 
son, Don Luis Cort6s, "del habito de Calatrava," que hubo en esta tierra en una 
muger spanola, no de las mas ignotas y escondidas, sino muger de buena suerte." 
This Don Luis married in Mexico Doiia Guimor VAzquez de Escobar, "dama muy 
calificada, rica y muy hermosa." They had no children. Don Luis was taken 
as prisoner to Spain, and died on the journey. Both he and his brothers died 
" desnaturalizados de su patria, pareci6ndose mucho a su padre en los trabajos que 
le saltaron como atajado En Castilleja de la Cuesta, y un corazon, tan grande, que 
no cupo en el mundo, ni se harto ni lleno su dnimo con lo que descubrio y conquist6 : 
le sobro en aquel lugarejo un palmo 6 siete pies de tierra en que cupo aquel cuerpo 
y bravosidad, y acabo con sus grandes pensamientos y deseos de servir mas a su 
Rey, como lo mostro en la conquista de tan grandes reinos y estados, y en los que 
de nuevo quiso conseguir A la corona de Castilla donde gasto toda la hacienda que 
habia adquirido." Carranza, pp. 100-101. Martin, Luis and Catalin^a were 
legitimatized by Papal Bull, April 16, 1529. Bancroft, p. 483, according to Alamdn, 
DiserL, ii, 2d, app. 32-36. Philip II later restored the "jurisdiccion del Mar- 
quesado, con muy honradas palabras y efectos," to Don Fernando Cort6s third 
Marqu6s del Valle, and second by the name of Fernando. In 1604, Don Pedro 
Cortes, his brother, had inherited the same. Carranza states that if he is "cuerdo, 
no deseard venir d las Indias, porque esta tierra no sufre mas senor que al que aqui 
nos gobierna por Su Magestad." Carranza, pp. 100-101. Salazar y Olarte, 
2a parte, p. 472 states: "cuya bastarda impresion llego a desconocerse con el re- 
cuerdo de la nobleza de nuestro capitan, haviendose casado con caballeros distin- 
guidos y permanentes en la gran ciudad de Mexico. 

1 Bernardez, p. 34, according to Haro's Nobilario; Mota Padilla, p. 193. 
* Ibid., pp. 34-35, according to Haro's Nobilario. 


in his own character and that of his ancestors, going back to the 
Moorish struggles in Spain, is evident when we learn that when 
not yet ten years of age he accompanied his father on his ex- 

The ancestry of Cristobal, Juan de Onate's young son, great- 
great grandson of Montezuma, and great grandson of Cortes, is 
interestingly given by Villagra : ^ 

" En quien vereis al uiuo cifrados, 
Todos los nobles Reyes que falieron, 
Deftas nuevas Regiones y plantaron. 
La gran ciudad de Mexico, y con ellos, 
Vereis tambien aquellos valero^os. 
Que a fuer^as de valor y de trabajos, 
Eftas remotas tierras pretendieron." 

Juan de Onate had four brothers : Don Fernando, whom we 
have already seen associated with his father; Don Cristobal, 
Luys Nunez Perez, and Don Alonso, all of whom were wealthy, 
and were summoned by Don Juan to help him in his work of ex- 
ploration in New Mexico. They rendered him valuable assistance 
financially and acted as his agents in the responsible govern- 
mental transactions which developed out of this exploration and 
settlement of New Mexico, his most important undertaking.^ 
Don Fernando is described in 1604 as a "cavallero muy prin- 
cipal." He had been alcalde mayor of the cities of Los Angeles, 
Guajocingo and Villa de Carrion.'' ^ 

» VillagrA, Canto Sexto. 

"Y qual fuelen las Aguilas Reales, 
Que h los tiernos poUuelos de fu nido, 
Largo trecho los facan y remontan, 
Para que con esfuerco cobren fuerpas, 
En el libiano buelo, y del fe balgan, 
En prouechofa y dief tra alteneria, 
Afsi determine don Juan f aliefe, 
Su hi jo don Chrift6val, nifio tierno, 
Para que con el fueffe y fe adef trafe, 
Sirbiendoos gran fenor en el oficio, 
De la importante guerra trabajof a, 
Siendo tef tigo J&el de fus palabras, 
Para que con las obras que alii viefe, 
Le tuuieffe defpues en bien ferbiros, 
Por vnico dechado, y claro exemplo." 

« Canto Sexto. ' Ibid. * Carranza, p. 315. 


He married Dona Leonor de Rivadeneira, daughter of Hernando 
de Rivadeneira and Dona Maria de Merida, his wife, daughter of 
the tesorero Alonso de Merida and Dona Ines de Perea, his wife. 
They had several children: Don Fernando, the younger, Don 
Cristobal, and Dona Antonia, who married Don Bernardino 
Vazquez de Tapia. They also had a daughter Doiia Catalina, 
who had not married in 1604, and is described as so good a 
Christian that she was desirous of entering a convent so as to 
better serve God.^ 

Don Cristobal married Dona Maria del Castillo who had died 
prior to 1604. Upon her death he inherited the encomienda of his 
wife, which was the pueblo of Santiago Tecali, and which yielded 
handsome returns. They had no children.^ Don Cristobal is 
mentioned in 1599, when, acting in the name of his brother, Juan 
de Onate, he appoints Capitan Caspar de Villagra, "Capitan 
de Caballos." ^ Juan de Onate also had a sister. Dona Maria 
Galarza,^ who married Antonio de Ordaz. Her husband inherited 
the pueblos of Calpa and half of Chilapa from Diego de Ordaz 
Villagomez, nephew of Diego de Ordaz,^ who had previously been 
granted these pueblos by the king in recognition of his services. 
Don Antonio had died before 1604. Their daughter, Juan de 
Oiiate's niece, became heir to the various pueblos, being of the 
third generation. She married Ruy Dias de Mendoza,^ her 

1 Carranza, p. 315. ' Ibid. 

' Nombramiento Real de Capitdn de Caballos d favor del Capitdn Gaspar de 
Villagrd, Mexico, Agosto 20, 1599. In Documentos relativos d Gaspar de Villagra, 
Apendice Primero, p. 40. Incorporated in Obregon's Villagrd, 

* Villagrd, Canto Honze. 

"» Diego de Ordaz, Capitan de los diez, segundo Procurador General que fu6 a 
Castilla. Diego de Ordaz came over with Cort6s as captain of one of the vessels 
in the armada. He was a person of importance in New Spain, served in the wars 
with Cortes, until he was expelled by the natives from the city of Mexico. He 
was in the war of Tepeaca and there held the position of captain of infantry, and 
from Ithere went as Procurador to Hayti ("la Isla spanola") and from there to 
Spain. When he returned, the land had been brought under subjection, but 
notwithstanding this, he was given Yautepec with its Indians and Teutila and 
Chiautla, and also the province of Huejocingo. He then went as governor to the 
Rio Maranon, and through his services and qualities secured the "hdbito de San- 
tiago." This Diego de Ordaz was one of the courageous men who ascended the 
volcano of Popocatepetl. Although eminently successful in Mexico, having re- 
ceived pueblos and encomiendas , he never seemed satisfied and ever sought new 
successes. He had no legitimate descendants, but he had an illegitimate son Alvaro 
de Ordaz, whom Carranza knew personally, and whom they called "el volcan" 
in memory of his father. He was considered as legitimate, and was married to 
Ana de Ordaz. They had children, but all, both parents and children, were very 
poor. Carranza, pp. 170, 455. 

• VillagrA, Canto Sexto. 


cousin, who later helped Juan de Oiiate very materially in his 
work of exploration and settlement of New Mexico. Both were 
living in 1604. Juan de Onate at this time had another niece, 
whose name is not given, and who was not married.^ 

The Zaldivar brothers, Cristobal, Francisco, Juan, and Vicente 
were Juan de Onate's cousins.^ According to Villagra, Juan de 
Onate's father was the uncle of the Zaldivars.^ Their mother's 
name seems to have been Onate, but whether she was Don Cris- 
tobal de Onate's sister has not been determined. The father of 
the Zaldivar brothers was Juan or Vicente de Zaldivar.* The 
Zaldivars were distinguished persons in the service of the king, 
proving the valor and worth of the illustrious and ancient house 
of Zaldivar, well known in Vizcaya, because of its acknowledged 
merit. ^ 

Dona Isabel, wife of Juan de Onate, had a brother Juan Cortes, 
who in 1620 had not married. Dona Isabel's sister, Dona Leonor 
Cortes, married Cristobal de Zaldivar, brother of the Maestre de 
Camyo.^ They had two children, Juan and Leonor, who were cousins 
of Juan de Onate's children, Cristobal and Maria. Dona Isabel's 
mother, Dona Leonor de Cortes Montezuma, daughter of Cortes 
and granddaughter of Montezuma,^ in 1604 had other daughters 
who were nuns in Seville.^ 

As already noted, when Crist6bal de Onate came to Zacatecas 
in 1548, we do not know whether Juan de Onate was yet born. 
In the data available to the writer, the first record of Juan's service 

• Carranza, p. 171, 

^ " Villagrd, Canto Sexto ; Duro, Don Diego de Pefialoaa (1648) ; Torquemada, 
p. 671. 

./• VillagrA, Canto Tercero and Sexto; Torquemada, p, 671. 

* * BernArdez, according to Haro's Nobilario, calls him Vicente, but Mota Padilla 
states that his name was Juan and not Vicente, and that he was not governor, but 
one of the illustrious captains contemporaneous with Crist6bal de Onate, Don 
Juan's father. Mota Padilla, p. 196. 

• Haro intended to make further mention, as he himself states, of this illustrious 
family in his vol. 4, when dealing more in detail with the illustrious houses of Spain. 
This work is not available beyond quotations therefrom, interpolated in the works 
of other authorities. It undoubtedly would contain valuable data in a genealogical 
way, and might clear some of the points now left pending, e.g. whether the Zaldivar 
boys were Onate's cousins or " so6rtnos " as he calls them, according to Bancroft. 
From what has preceded it is evident that by reason of the marriage of Christ6bai 
Zaldivar to Juan de Onate's sister-in-law, any issue therefrom would be his "so- 
brinos" or "sobrinas" by marriage. j 

• Bern^rdez, p. 25, according to Haro's Nobilario; Arlegiii:;^ p. 135; Carranza, 
pp. 100-101. 

' Villagrd, Canto Sexto ; Arlegui, p. 135. 
> Carranza, pp. 100-101. 


is in Zacatecas in 1574/ when "immediately after the founding of 
the eighth mission in the province of Zacatecas, namely: Santa 
Maria de las Charcas, the barbarous Indians reduced it to ashes. 
Because of the gentle preaching of the friars, and with untold 
hardships, they were able to rebuild it, help being furnished by 
Juan de Onate, son of Cristobal de Onate. The mission was re- 
built in 1583." 2 

We also find that "in 1583,^ San Luis Potosi was discovered, 
conquered and settled by Juan de Onate,"* according to Arlegui 
and Bernardez. With the exception of this limited information 
as to specific service in the early part of his career, we must leave 
Don Juan until he began negotiations for the settlement of New 
Mexico, for the king of Spain. At the time that he petitioned he 
was residirg in Zacatecas. His age, his previous success, "and 
his general characteristics " ^ have been aptly embraced in the ex- 
pression "hombre de buenas partes," prerequisites for final suc- 
cess. "He seemed better fitted than others who had previously 
undertaken the enterprise." ^ 

* Arlegui, 1st ed., reads 1574 ; 2d ed., reads 1564. 
' Berndrdez, p. 32 ; Arlegui, p. 66. 

« Arlegui, pp. 56-57, 134-135 ; Berndrdez, p. 32. 

* Berndrdez, pp. 32-33, says 1586. Bancroft, Hist. Mexico, vol. 2, p. 763, states : 
"In 1576 Luis de Leixa had penetrated northeastward and on the slope of a metal 
bearing mountain he founded the town of San Luis Potosi." Friar Diego de la 
Magdalena is also claimed as the founder. Ibid., p. 763. The San Luis Potosi 
Relacion Circuns., calls Onate, " descubridor, conquistador, y poblador de San 

j^ Luis, 1583." See Bancroft, Hist. Ariz, and New Mexico, p. 116. 

O ' Villagrd substantiates these qualifications of Onate when he says : 

"Afsi don Juan fin aguardar mas plazo, 
Llamado de la fuerga y voz de Marte, 

Y de la illuf tre fangre generofa, 
De todos fus maiores y paffados, 

Y deftos grandes Reyes que dezimos, 
Como el prudente Griego que las armas, 
Del valerofo Aquiles pretendia, 

Por deuida jufticia que alegaua, 
Afsi dio en pretender aquef ta imprefa, 
Por el derecho grande que tenia, 
A ferbiros en ella fin que alguno, 
Otro mejor derecho le moftrafe." 
Canto Sexto. 

'"Memorial sobre el descubrimiento," Col. Doc. Ined., vol. 16, pp. 188-189; 
*' Carta del Virrey Velasco de 14 de Octubre, 1595." 

MAR 1 e. 1917 

Gaylord Bros 


Syracuse. N Y. 

PAT.JAN.2I. 1908